Thursday, September 18, 2014

I'm Starving...Pass the Humble Pie

I've been thinking about how I work lately. Thinking about doing a good job...about making a difference...and then making mistakes that bring me back down to earth. It's an odd series of experiences that seem to happen in rapid succession: great work, bold leadership, progressive strategies...and big stumbles that feel awkward at the least, and are downright embarrassing at the worst.

On A Roll
I've been on a bit of a professional roll lately. My leadership team in HR is fully staffed and doing a terrific job. The energy around the work we're doing to support our organization is spreading; and, the early results indicate we're on to something special.

What sometimes happens (to me) in these moments is that I allow myself to get caught up in the daily action of HR. Yes, action in HR! Who do the leaders in our organizations turn to when the employee relations environment gets too complicated to handle? HR, that's who. We jump in to support our colleagues, provide solutions, and help facilitate very difficult communications on a routine basis.

But sometimes things slip by us when we're caught up in the moment. I don't like it when I let things slip.

Eat That Roll
When those failings happen, which I guess (read here --> hope) happens to us all, what should we do next? 

We've all seen people in our careers who try to place blame on someone else, or at the very least attempt to deflect the full accountability for the mistake away from themselves.

I think that's a lame strategy. If I've stumbled, I should say so, and shift my thinking from being "on a roll" to eating a big 'ol slice of humble pie.

Today, I'm feasting. 

How About You
When you stumble do you run and hide? Or, do you hold yourself accountable and make things right? It's not easy, or comfortable, or appetizing. But sometimes it's the best thing on the leadership menu.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Friday, September 12, 2014

The One Thing I Missed

The pace of my life, both personally and professionally, seems to be moving faster than ever. You probably feel the same way too. With technology keeping us connected 24/7 to our work, and perhaps more significantly, the expectation that we will be available non-stop, has us scrambling.

Too Much?

I see a growing number of posts that discuss the need to "unplug" or be "disconnected" for periods of time. 

The rationale being that we will feel better about ourselves and life in general if we "take a break" from the digital world.


But my work gets done in the digital world. My responsibilities, my timely communications with the team, and my ability to coordinate complex issues from long distances requires me to be connected. 

So, when exactly am I supposed to stop doing those things? Too much...for me...feels just right.

Says Who?

Rayanne Thorn and Me
I know there are those who have allowed their devices to take up a disproportionate amount of their time. With so many terrific ways to stay connected, some people end up replacing their real life connections with virtual ones. 

But that's not me. One of the most powerful benefits of connecting in the digital world is when the IRL (in real life) meetings finally happen! Those moments are fantastic, and reinforce the personal connections that the digital world can not replace.

It's unfortunate that the "experts" among us don't take the dialogue further to illustrate the power of the IRL benefits of working in a digital world.

How About You
It turns out the one thing I missed was listening to myself. The well-intended (presumably) messages from the "experts" telling me what I should or shouldn't do don't make much sense. Next time, I won't miss my own gut instinct telling me to stay on track.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Campfires and Bonfires

I love new ideas that push me and my team. Sometimes the ideas don't work out so well; and other times they are more successful than expected. What is exciting for me though is that we're taking the risks

It's as if we have our own little campfires that sometimes grow a little bigger, and sometimes they don't have enough fuel and they die out.

Your Campfires
What new ideas, approaches, or strategies have you been thinking about? You and I may share the same vision. In the world of work we will each end up building our own little campfire and hope they start to burn. 

The problem with campfires is they are small, are a combination of luck, good weather, plenty of kindling, and hopefully a patient fire-starter. There are many factors that can put our campfires out before they have a chance to grow.

Our Bonfires
Imagine an environment where our small campfires are joined together? 

Suddenly the level of energy jumps, and the blaze is roaring. Imagine that same level of energy in our work? 

One of the most powerful ways to build our collective bonfires is to connect with each other. 

That may sound obvious, but consider how effective you've been in the past when you worked with someone else on a problem, team, or project.

Stepping outside your comfort zone to ask for help, get others opinions, and share your knowledge and expertise (yes, you have expertise) can create a  powerful result.

How About You
What are you going to do to move past your little campfire and build your ideas into a blazing success? Isn't it time to reach out, be humble, and add your insight to make a difference? You can do it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

I'm Always Right

"...and above all, stay humble because just when you think you have all the answers, is the moment when some bitter twist of fate in the universe will remind you that you very much don't...” 
- Tom Hiddleston 

Have you figured it all out? Have you convinced yourself that your view of the world is the "right" one?

Have you ever considered that what you believe to be true and right; may, in fact, be off-base?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014


As you look at your task list or calendar each day, what goes through your mind? What emotion hits first? Does your competitive side see a challenge; or, does your heart race as you realize it will be nearly impossible to accomplish all of those items in one day? 


Lately I've been wondering how that first rush of emotion impacts our mindset at work. Is it possible that our style leaves us susceptible to a first impression that will be a derailer on our outlook for two, six, or even twelve hours?

If so, what strategies do you use to counter this load of negativity? Banging your head against the wall may be tempting at this point, but I recommend head-banging for something very different. 


I have three approaches for dealing with work, personal, and often times in-my-head stress that can derail me and put me into a bit of a tailspin. These won't work for everyone, but in my world they have made all the difference.

1. Reach out to my network

This may feel a bit awkward, particularly if you're not calling to "talk shop." We can all slip into the "work is stressful can you believe what she said in the office" discussion. I'm talking about opening up...being vulnerable...and letting your network actually offer some perspective.

It's powerful. It's important. It works for me.

2. Workout like a beast

Okay, I realize not everyone is into getting fit. That's is about choices. For me I need to workout to stay sane. I'm not embellishing here. Exercise has become such an important part of my mental health that I can not go more than a day without it.

It's powerful. It's important. It works for me.

3. Find the music that brings me peace of mind and play it every day 

I don't know too many folks who do not enjoy music. Check out the #HRMusicshare hashtag and you'll find all sorts of people sharing the music that is helping them get through the day. My personal tastes are at the fast and heavy end of the musical spectrum. So what?

It's powerful. It's important. It works for me. 


How do you react when the day ahead looks like a train coming straight for you? Do you give up before you even get started...accepting failure as part of the routine? Or, do you make an intentional decision to do something that works for you?

Rock on friends!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Dog Ate My Homework...and My Personal Brand

"I don't have time for is very busy right now."

"I don't see the value...what does it do again?"

"I think my recruiters are using, that's really for the Marketing department, right?"

I read a terrific blog post this weekend from James Ellis about the evolution of social media use in companies today. It was insightful, concise and direct. My disappoint with the piece was not the content, but rather my industry. I recently had the privilege to present at a conference of recruitment professionals. How many of these front line pros do you think were using social tools?

I counted less than twenty at a conference of over three-hundred. How is that possible? How is it that the healthcare industry, and the more specifically #HealthcareHR professionals are not paying attention to how the world has changed?

It used to be okay to say "my company won't let me have an official twitter account for work." That excuse doesn't cut it anymore. Does that same company stop employees from having a private twitter account?, they don't. 

No Brand, No Options
Using social tools to build your personal brand is not a "nice to do" strategy in the modern world. Candidly, it is a "must do." At an event for professionals in transition recently I was discussing the role social media can play not only in building your personal brand, but more importantly how that brand can differentiate you from the competition.

The room was engaged, enthusiastic, and excited to start doing just that!

Using the old and lame excuses at the opening of this post are what I've heard repeatedly from my colleagues in the industry. Yet, these same people lament the fact that it is difficult to find talent, that it's hard to stay current, and that it is so difficult to work with their Marketing colleagues to build a cohesive strategy.

Let me share some insight...if you don't lead the way you will not make any progress. I'll say it again...if YOU do not lead the way you will not make progress.

How About You
Do you want more out of your career? Do you want to be a contemporary leader? Do you want to differentiate yourself and your organization from all the rest? If so, you actually need to do something about it. I think today is a good day to get started...and I would love to help you get there!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

People Exactly Like Us

I spend a lot of time thinking about how people are treated. Sometimes it's the tragic news stories that dominate my twitter news list. Other times the pain is very overheard racial slur, or a demeaning comment about a gay or lesbian person.

I have to tell you...I'm feeling sad today.

Now before you think I'm getting all soft and weepy, consider these questions:

- What have you done in your workplace, above and beyond what the law requires, to create a positive environment for all employees?

- What words do you use, even casually away from work? Do you have a "leadership" vocabulary for the office, and a "personal" one when you're with your friends?

- Do you support companies that have track records of discriminating against people simply because they are different?

- When you experience forms of discrimination, large or small, do you speak up or play it safe and remain silent?

People Are People
Thankfully my parents instilled in me from the moment I was old enough to interact with other human beings that everyone is equal. 

No group, viewpoint, or taken-out-of-context Bible verse justifies discriminating against anyone. (By the way, my Father was a very successful Pastor.)

The good news in all of the persistent chaos around us is that we do have laws that protect people, more and more states are recognizing the rights of people to love and marry whomever they chose, and companies like mine are offering benefits to all employees.

How About You
Do you make sure your organization accepts everyone? How exactly do you make that happen? It would be a shame if any of our organizations had a reputation for only hiring people who were just like us.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.